I am left shaking my head occasionally when I hear a client say that my quote is much higher than some other quote they have received. Since I shop virtually every case I quote I am confident when I send out quotes, well, they are as good as it is going to be after underwriting.
But, human nature often creeps in on the part of both clients and agents and can muddy the waters. So whose to blame when a client gets and acts on an unrealistic life insurance quote? Good question. The agent definitely if the client doesn’t give them accurate information. The agent definitely if they don’t ask all of the required medical questions. The agent definitely if they quote a better rate than they believe they can get in order to tie up the client with an application (called bait and switch).
The client definitely if they don’t answer questions completely. The client definitely if they don’t divulge an issue even if not asked specifically about that issue. The client most definitely if they gloss over the fact that they are quoted a rate that in their heart they have a hunch they don’t qualify for, and apply anyway.
Since most of my business is impaired risk life insurance, I work primarily with people who aren’t likely to get the best rate class. I have been told by clients that I “don’t need all of that information” because other agents they’ve talked to quoted without having it. But it’s amazing how the quotes don’t hit the fan when I ask someone that’s had cancer for a copy of the pathology report, or ask someone with diabetes to get me a copy of their most recent labs that shows their hbA1c. I honestly don’t know how an agent can quote a case where heart disease or a heart attack is involved without seeing the most recent cardiac workup a person has had.
The truth is I, and any other good agent, do need that information in order to provide an accurate quote. I know that human nature is that we like hearing good news better than bad news, so there is that desire to believe that somehow you will get a better rate than you deserve. But human nature also makes the back end of a bait and switch extremely irritating also. When an agent tells you that preferred plus is the rate class you are applying for and you trust that, the agent is a dirt bag when he presents an approved policy at a much higher rate.
But the good news for the dirt bag is that most clients will accept their explanation that somehow they didn’t understand your health issue was that extreme and that even though it’s a much higher rate, there’s no sense starting over since you are now likely to not get anything better.
Let me just say four things that I don’t believe any agent can argue with, even the dirt balls.
1. There is absolutely no excuse for an agent providing a quote if they haven’t gone through all of your health and family history and questioned foreign travel and dangerous hobbies.
2. There is absolutely no excuse for an agent that doesn’t consult an underwriter prior to quoting if the client has any health history at all. In the case of simple health issues like cholesterol, blood pressure, build and family history there is no excuse for an agent not double checking everything against a written underwriting guide, preferably from several companies since no two are the same.
3. There is absolutely no truth to the fact that once a company approves a policy, you might as well live with it because it’s the best you’re going to get. Every company underwrites differently and it is not unusual for a standard or worse rate at one company to be preferred or better at another company. The key…..an agent that is willing to take the time to shop a case. So, if you’re the victim of bait and switch, don’t put up with it. If you have coverage tell the agent thanks but no thanks and find an impaired risk agent. If you don’t have coverage, put the policy in force on a monthly basis and immediately seek out an agent that knows how to help you. The good news is in most cases we can use the first exam and replace the wrong policy within a month or two at the most.
4. If the agent only represents one company by contract they can’t possibly provide you with the best rate available. Only use independent agents.
Bottom line. Agents who don’t take their time and put all of their effort into honest shopping and accurate quoting are a disgrace to the life insurance industry.